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Adultery/Adultery or not


QUESTION: My husband and I separated by my choice, he is an alcoholic and very controlling and was constantly accusing me of having an affair I wasn't having, we were not legally separated and had not seen lawyers about divorcing but did live in the same house for about a year while I did tell him I wanted a divorce and lived in separate houses (we own a few just feet away from each other) from May of this year. In August he decided to sleep with a co-worker that as it turns out he'd been spending all his lunch breaks with in the past year while on this out of state job and from what I hear also on a past job 2 years ago. Now, from what he tells me when drunk she came looking for him once she heard he was having marital problems- so that would imply that she had known him in the past. When he's sober he says he only met her for the first time in March of this year when she showed up on this job. Since end if Oct of this year we have been trying to reconcile, we have been sleeping together and he had still been spending lunch breaks with her (saw it with my own eyes) and has still as recently as last week been on phone with her for hours at a time. He swears to me he ended it with her and they are friends. I'm not really stupid enough to believe this but I am still trying to save my marriage (4kids). What my main question is because he justifies what I call his affair with her as not an affair because I kicked him out or I flushed him (as he calls it)- was he cheating or not? I know that if he has been with her romantically since he said he are working on our marriage that that is cheating but if he thought we were separated was that cheating? I myself never felt I could have done such a thing because I viewed it as cheating but I am the one who told him our marriage was over that we weren't getting back together (God I wish I never said those words- I am living with do much pain now).
Funniest thing is- he still accuses me if having had an affair! Not ever!
Thanks in advance,

ANSWER: Donna,

Yes, he was and is cheating. If he is not physically cheating now, he is emotionally cheating. He's lying. He's lying to you and to himself about his level of emotional involvement with this other woman. If it is not clear to him, then he's not mature or aware enough to really have any sort of reconciliation with you because he doesn't even see his relationship with her as a problem. This makes it highly likely that he will go back to sleeping with her when you encounter problems again.

Cheating is a coping strategy that hurts other people and does nothing to solve problems.

His relationship with her is hurting you and ruining your chances for a real reconciliation. If he is not willing to give it up, I'd not call it a reconciliation. I wouldn't worry about whether what happened during the separation is cheating. Deal with the problem now. The behavior is very damaging. Excusing it by saying it happened during the reconciliation is not going to move your marriage forward.


Laura Giles

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I do have a follow up question-
My husband was deeply deeply devasted by our separation. He told me mid October I could flip a switch to work on our marriage which I attempted by end of Oct. He did say as soon as I told him I wanted to reconcile that he told this woman he was going back to his wife (weird to me the broken hearted woman would still be laughing and joking with him on lunch breaks), is there a reasonable amount of time I should tolerate his still being friends with her? He claims he doesn't want to hurt her feelings, I have said what about mine? Clearly hers came first I guess since he continued to hurt me by continuing to speak to her. He tells me she is innocent in all if this and he shouldn't hurt her. I believe he cannot work on us with her in picture as you say but is it reasonable for him to take his time to end this. If I can trust that he is not calling her from any other phone (he had a trac phone he destroyed in front of me) then he hasn't called her in only just over a week as of now. He did also let me throw out a birthday gift she had given him, as he should so I feel like he could possibly be making some effort but has taken a while because he feels as though I am going to change my mind again.
Thanks again!


My experience with affairs is that there is typically a period of mourning that comes with the end of a relationship where there is an emotional connection. If this is not happening (between your husband and the other woman), I'd say that it is because the emotional bond has not been severed. As long as that relationship continues, there can be no real reconciliation with you.

As to what is a reasonable amount of time to allow a "friendship," that is up to you. I see it as marking/wasting time. I'd allow none. Either he commits now and cuts it off, or there is no reconcilation. If his concern of her feelings means risking your pain, I'd say he is still very much invested in her.

If you'd like to understand the dynamics of relationships, break-ups, and make-ups in detail, I recommend reading His Needs Her Needs by Dr. Willard Harley. He also has a useful website with a lot of information at

I'd also recommend reading E-Squared. It may seem like it has nothing to do with what you are talking about. It is about manifesting the life you want, so it actually has everything to do with it. This book has turned a LOT of people's lives around. It's $3 for a digital version. Would you spend $3 to have a new perspective, new life, and new relationship?

Finally, I know that I risk throwing all credibility out the window with this suggestion, but I believe it could be helpful so here goes. Venus is in retrograde. During this time period, matters of love are distorted. Tread carefully. It's often better to wait for the energy to pass to make decisions during a retrograde. If you can observe and ride it out until this passes, that may be best.

Here is a link for more on that:

Best of luck,

Laura Giles


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Laura Giles


Marital, relationship, adultery, children out of wedlock, divorce, custody, visitation, support, co-parenting, mediation, counseling, group counseling, step-parenting, pre-marital, and reconciling issues


I teach parent education classes and a group for people who are trying to strengthen their relationships in addition to providing individual counseling. I am the author of "The Other Child: Children of Affairs."

National Registry of Who's Who in Executive Professionals
National Guild of Hypnotists
National Association of Social Workers
Honorary chairman of the Business Advisory Council
Virginia Mediation Network

The Other Child: Children of Affairs, The Daily Herald (Chicago), New You, The Journal Gazette, Almeda Times-Star, Tacoma News Tribune, East West Woman. Tidewater Women, Dimensions

BS in Human Services Counseling- Old Dominion University
Master of Social Work- Norfolk State University Licensed clinical social worker

Awards and Honors
National Registry of Who's Who in Executive Professionals

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